In 2018, Gisele Bundchen published her memoir, and in that book, she detailed how she gave birth to Benjamin and Vivian at home, without drugs, in the bathtub. In her book, she made it sound like she was some kind of icon for going against her doctor’s medical advice and powering through a sixteen-hour labor. In Tom Brady’s new ESPN+ series, Man in the Arena: Tom Brady, they both spoke about how Tom didn’t want Gisele to have a home birth but he ended up appreciating it:
Tom Brady has nothing but special memories from Gisele Bündchen’s home births, but he wasn’t convinced at first. The model was a part of the ESPN+ Man in the Arena: Tom Brady series, and she revealed that Brady told her “absolutely not” when she initially said she wanted to deliver their first child Benjamin at home. After she explained that it’s her body, her choice, the football star asked, “Who has a kid at home in 2000?’” “I do,” the 41-year-old said.
There are many reasons why women choose to give birth at home instead of the hospital, and the first time mom knew it was what she wanted, regardless of Brady’s opinion. “It was a home birth, and it was funny because he didn‘t want me to have a home birth. He was like, ‘Absolutely not,’ and I was like, ‘Excuse me, you don’t get to choose that, it‘s my body.’”
Over the 20th century, home birth declined rapidly with the advent of modern medicine, but women were giving birth in their homes or caves since humans existed. And in the end, Brady called the experience “precious.” “Me being there with G at his birth in our home, it lives in my mind. I think we brought this boy into the world in the most precious way,” he said in the clip.
Bündchen gave birth to both of her children via at home water birth and she explained in her book, “My Path to a Meaningful Life” that she has been wary of hospitals because her twin sister, Pati, developed double pneumonia when they were 10. She even went against doctors advice giving birth to Benjamin at home, “The doctor told me that it was too dangerous for me to have a home birth,” she recalled. “He said that Benny was in an unusual position, my hips were too small, and the odds just weren’t in my favor.”
As I said years ago, I do believe that every woman has the right to make her own birth choices and if some of y’all want to give birth at home, so be it. I find parts of Gisele’s story very problematic and I always felt this way. One, I do think she’s implicitly and negatively judging women who want to give birth in a hospital, or women who want painkillers. And that’s wrong. Two, I find it worrying that even in Gisele’s own narrative, she’s proud of the fact that she went against medical advice, and that there was real danger for mother and child. Ugh. I kind of wish Tom had fought harder on this issue.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instagram.